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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    473

    Any tips for washing off sticky clay mud from bike?

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    My husband and I did NOT spray our tires and spray with Pam Cooking oil (which I heard was good to do on muddy days) because we did not realize it would be so muddy after a brief rain last night.

    It was so muddy that our 18mile planned adventure cut down to 8miles (1100 feet elevation) only. Our tires took turns not even spinning because the clay mud was so caked on between the tire and the frame. I wore sneakers, but his mountain bike shoe cleats had a ball of mud in them, so that he could not even put his shoes into his cleats.

    We waited until the mud dried off some before cleaning the bike. I handwashed and scrubbed down the bikes. Since I know that there are bearings EVERYWHERE, I sprayed hard only at the main part of the frame and the tires and misted the rest of the bike. Still there is a ton of dried mud in the nooks and crannies of the bike.

    So my question is:
    1) In the future, do we clean bikes immediately or wait until the sticky clay mud dries up first so that we can poke off a lot of it (that was what we did today)?
    2) How do I get off the remaining mud...do I wash the bike again or just try to pick at the mud with a screwdriver and dry rub everything off?
    3) How will I know if I ruined any bearings? I tried to mist the bike, but the bike disc brakes were definitely rubbing as I rolled the bikes into the garage. I did NOT spray at the discs; I was going to alcohol wipe the discs and finish the drive train cleaning tomorrow because I ran out of sunlight today (since we were waiting for the bike mud to dry off).

    By the way, after taking the mountain biking class, I am MUCH better at descending on my flat platform pedals. Even my husband noticed. I think it is because I pick my lines much better now. Good to know that even racers have to stop, look, and re-try descends in order to pick good lines.
    Last edited by TigerMom; 04-26-2014 at 09:45 PM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    Yuck. I've gotten myself stuck in a mixture of sand and clay before. It was like trying to get cement off the bike, and never mind my shoes! Frame and tires you can wash with a hose, provided you stay away from the hubs and bottom bracket. If the brakes were rubbing, you probably didn't damage the bearings, but you might have knocked them out of alignment or something, depended on your brakes. I'd have your shop check the hubs and bottom bracket. Personally, I'd spray down the tires and parts of the frame away from major bearings, and then let the rest of it dry and break it off.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    Ohhh, you would be hamstrung and hung for riding on muddy trails here in Boise

    Invest in a a good set of brushes, they work great for getting the big chunks off. I wouldn't ever use a screw driver for fear of scratching my bike.

    this one MSRP's for about $25 Click image for larger version. 

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    Sky King
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403
    once I have all the chunks off, I will use a rag like a terry towel to wipe the frame down. The rag, plus lots of water, will get the filmy last bits off.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    473
    Quote Originally Posted by Sky King View Post
    Ohhh, you would be hamstrung and hung for riding on muddy trails here in Boise

    Invest in a a good set of brushes, they work great for getting the big chunks off. I wouldn't ever use a screw driver for fear of scratching my bike.

    this one MSRP's for about $25 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	pedro pro brush.jpg 
Views:	145 
Size:	24.0 KB 
ID:	17060
    The sticky clay mud was NOT coming out with the brushes. I had to pound out chunks between our bikes and my husband's pedals with a screwdriver. The clay mud was hardened and molded into the bikes. On the other hand, when the clay mud was wet, it was thick and sticky on our bikes...which is why I don't know whether to clean the bikes while the mud is wet or once the clay mud has dried?
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite
    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals (sold)

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Austria
    Posts
    374
    This is what works for me:

    Immediately after the ride, I get a bucket full of water with usual dishsoap in it and a big brush (I use one that is made for car cleaning) with long, soft bristles. I wash the bike with the brush and a lot of water. If it is really muddy, I take the tires out so that it's easier to clean the parts underneath and put the tires onto the bucket und just scrub away with the brush. For the chain I use old rags or a toothbrush. Then I rinse once or twice with clear water and let everything dry, and then oil everything that needs oiling.
    I do not use a hose at all, I just use the bucket for pouring water.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,479
    Dawn with scrub brushes?

    We don't actually have clay here, so I'm just guessing.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Not to lecture, but I think SkyKing's point got a little lost. If that's the condition your bike is in, think about the condition you left the trails in. There was a conflagration here this spring when organizers decided to go ahead with a small foot race on muddy trails. It took many people, many hours of work afterwards to restore the trails.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    473
    The trails were opened, so I thought it was ok.

    Obviously, I didn't know the conditions. I definitely am NOT going to bike ride in the future the day after it rains (even if the rain is very brief). Lesson learned because cleaning the bike was super difficult.
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite
    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals (sold)

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403
    Quote Originally Posted by TigerMom View Post
    The trails were opened, so I thought it was ok.

    Obviously, I didn't know the conditions. I definitely am NOT going to bike ride in the future the day after it rains (even if the rain is very brief). Lesson learned because cleaning the bike was super difficult.
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Not to lecture, but I think SkyKing's point got a little lost. If that's the condition your bike is in, think about the condition you left the trails in. There was a conflagration here this spring when organizers decided to go ahead with a small foot race on muddy trails. It took many people, many hours of work afterwards to restore the trails.
    Not lost on me.
    Every region is different when it comes to the mud thing. It is always good to inquire with your local club/trail builders/lbs if you don't know what is appropriate for your trails. I don't know of many areas where they actually "close" the trails in terms of using ribbons or signage, but I do know of many where locals are expected to know the guidelines. I was in Oregon this weekend. The locals I was riding with were very mindful of the cutoff for how much rain the trails could take before they became unrideable in the sense that bikers are expected to stay off of them. Where I live, people ride in the mud anyway ( dude, don't wreck my ride by telling me when I can and cannot go) and it is a real drag as, as Oakleaf says, it causes irreparable damage. But we also have other areas that drain and dry really fast. So find out what is expected in your area.
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    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

 

 

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